Thursday, February 19, 2015

Alain Markusfeld - 1978 - Platock

Alain Markusfeld

01. Fayava
02. L'Enrouleur De Galaxies
03. Automne Et Éternité
04. Platock Concerto:
- 1er Mouvement
- 2e Mouvement
- 3e Mouvement
- 4e Mouvement

- Alain Markusfeld / Acoustic and electric guitars, piano, hammond organ, harmonica, vocals
- Patricia Markusfeld / vocals
- Jean Schultheis / marimba, Tibetian and Chineese cimbals, darbouka, triangle

Here's this French master's fourth outing from eight years on and plying something far different from the counterculture carnival atmosphere of his debut, as aside from some assistance on marimbas, darboukas and Asian cymbals courtesy of one Jean Shultheis and a bit of vocalizing from his wife Patricia Markusfed, the majority of this is Markusfeld out on his own. Working a scintillating seam largely hewn from plangent and kaleidoscopically intricate meshings of acoustic/electric guitar filigree, the vibe here has something of both Phil Manzanera circa Primitive Guitars and the acoustic folkloric eccentricity of Quebec's Conventum, though imbued with some of the airy and dewy eyed upfulness of his countrymen in Total Issue.

Alain Markusfeld - 1977 - Le Desert Noir

Alain Markusfeld 
Le Desert Noir

01. Le désert noir
02. Marrakech blues
03. Venus theme
04. Patita song
05. Atlantis rock
06. Bulgaro-feld
07. Hot love (musique pour l'espace et le temps perdu)
08. Jupiter forever part I
09. Jupiter forever part II

- Alain Markusfeld / electric guitars, acoustic 12 string guitars, electric bass, bass wah-wah, acoustic piano, piano, phazing vocals
- Jean-François Leroi / drums and percussions
- Patricia Markusfeld / vocals (1)
- Didier Alexandre / electric bass (6)
- Coco Ameziane / percussion

After six years of silence, Markusfeld comes back in 1977 for a third album with "Le désert noir", in full prog's fall. Probably due to the time influence, the sound is far squarer than on its debut albums. On another hand, the production is excellent and so the sound's very good. The music features excellent guitar as usual, with much wha wha. There's always a very slight eastern flavour in Markusfeld's acoustic guitar, like in the beautiful opener "Le désert noir", an invitation to travel, which also features beautiful female background vocals. "Atlantis rock" is a catchy tune, with a repetitive melodic pattern repeated endlessly. "Bulgaro-feld" and "Hot love" progress more with a funky jazzrock feel at times. To sum up, this album is unequal, with more or less inspired moments, sometimes too repetitive, but always exhibits a high level of technical mastery.

Alain Markusfeld - 1971 - Le Son Tombé Du Ciel

Alain Markusfeld 
 Le Son Tombé Du Ciel

01. Le son tombé du ciel (9:32)
02. L'homme à la tête félée (3:10)
03. Jubal (1:43)
04. La durée n'est pas le temps (3:15)
05. Theleme (4:00)
06. Eve (6:00)

- Alain Markusfeld / electric guitars, acoustic guitar, re-recording guitars, voice
- Joël Dugrenot / electric bass, re-recording contrebasse, contrebasse
- Geza Fenz / drums, percussions, tambourine, tumba
- Laurent Thibault / electric piano
- Dominique Blanc-Francard / moog, synthesizers VCS 3

 Alain Markusfeld's second album, released in 1971, one year after his first studio effort, shows a more progressive direction thanks to the long eponym track. It features two important french musicians: Joël Dugrenot on bass (Clearlight, Delired cameleon family, Zao) and Laurent Thibault (Magma) on electric piano . While the first album was a little amateurish, "Le son tombé du ciel" exhibits greater technical mastery and cleaner production. It has been recorded at the famous Hérouville château.
The almost 10mn instrumental eponym piece is a little spacerock gem. It begins very quietly with discrete and ethereal keyboards, when suddenly Markusfeld's guitar bursts like thunder. And then the piece slowly builds up very progressively in the way of Agitation free "2nd", with a psychedelic eastern-flavoured guitar sound, leading fascinating developments, helped by rhythmic accelerations. The piece ends on a repetitive melodic pattern, typical of Markusfeld's style.

The add of moog and VCS3 synthe on "La durée n'est pas le temps" adds some richness to the sound. The singing is more tranquil and less declamatory, theatrical than on the first album. "Theleme" is a luminous pastoral folk piece while "Eve" is a floating, ethereal piece with Wyatt-like singing while the second half is very experimental.

Although the album suffers from its shortness (27mn!), the music remains original and inspired, with all the early 70's freshness.

Alain Markusfeld - 1970 - Le Monde En Etages

Alain Markusfeld
Le Monde En Etages

01. Musique fatidique pour nuages fatigués (3:32)
02. Dans la glue moyenâgeuse (5:47)
03. Dors ! Madère (4:09)
04. La terre se dévore ! (partie 1) (3:36)
05. La terre se dévore ! (partie 2) (3:25)
06. Les têtes molles. (6:41)
07. Actualités spatio-régionales (8:13)

- Jean-Claude Michaud / bass
- Jean Schultheis / drums, vibraphone, organ, piano
- Bernard Duplaix / flute, basson saxophone
- Denis Lable / guitar
- Alain Markusfeld / guitar
- Rolling / guitar
- Tommy Brown / drums

French guitarist/multi-instrumentalist, very unique. His albums blend multi- layered acoustic guitars with fiery leads, piano, ethereal female voices, throbbing bass and percussion. His guitar style could be described as early Larry Coryell (acoustic) meets Randy California (electric) with a strong middle-eastern influence. Le Desert Noir is a heavier guitar album which features drums on almost every track, overall very hendrix influenced. With Platock, there is more maturity in his sound, combining delicate acoustic guitars and more piano to his trademark sound, with less reliance on drums. Contemporus attempts to continue in the same vein, but fails to reach the same energy level, except possibly on the sidelong "Contemporus" suite. Start with Platock, which most will agree is his best. First two releases are very rare.

Alain Markusfeld's first album, released in 1970 was composed by Markusfeld himself who also plays guitar on "La terre se dévore! (partie 2)".

All pieces features Markusfeld french singing, in a rather spoken theatrical and declamatory style, which may remind of Ange. The lyrics, somehow science fiction inspired, feature a metaphysical, philosophical dimension with a good amount of delirious sick humour.

The music hesitates between several genres: pop, prog, psychedelic. Guitar style varies and may evoke Hendrix from time to time.

The first piece is a curious patchwork, beginning by a funny sung introduction with some chorus singing "le monde en étages" and then quickly moves to some killer prog, quite ahead of its time, featuring psychedelic guitar.

Twilight Nuages - 1977 - Twilight Nuages

Twilight Nuages
Twilight Nuages

01. Intro   
02. Lazy Sunday Afternoons
03. You Can Always Walk Away (Song For The Only)   
04. That Is Love (Chasing Backwards)
05. Nanner's Theme
06. Find My Dream Come True
07. Rose-Marie
08. Lonely Clown   
09. Life Goes On, Love Goes On

Tenor Saxophone – Santo Petruzzello
Bass Guitar, Guitar – Bobby Genovese
Drums, Vocals – Barry Mott
Guitar, Piano, Vocals, Producer – Bill Last
Keyboards, Guitar – Pat Gregor
Lead Vocals – Ann* (tracks: B4), Barry* (tracks: B1), Bill* (tracks: A1, A2, A4, B2), Ellen* (tracks: B1), Jane* (tracks: A3, A4)
Vocals – Ann Pearlin, Diane Willis (2), Ellen Unger, Jane Talbot
Written By – Dandurand (tracks: B3)
Written-By – Mott* (tracks: B1), Last*

“Life goes on, Love goes on.” It certainly did for the Twilight Nuages. 36 years earlier, the soon to be erstwhile Nuages intoned the phrase over and over to close their privately pressed debut album. Taking their name from a Django Reinhardt song (that dealt with that magical time of day between afternoon and evening). The group was the musical brainchild of Connecticut school teacher Bill Last; who rounded up students and his local musician pals into an outsider pop supergroup. You can almost see the fading beams of sunlight that might have radiated into Bill’s parents’ basement, where the group did most of it’s recording and rehearsing. The music itself is what some jaded collector types might refer to as “real people music.” Like the best of these types of records, it sounds both of it’s time and completely out of time. Recorded earnestly (live to a 2 track reel to reel) and pressed in a small quantity of vinyl LPs. Most copies of the original pressing were consigned to fate’s dead letter office. Thankfully, due to what one can imagine was some sort of slip in the space time continuum; one of the ill fated copies of the groups’ self titled debut ended up in the hands of recent upstart Philadelphia based label, Folk Evaluation (with distribution via the venerable Light In The Attic). The label that has given the Twilight Nuages’ debut album a much deserved new lease on life and reissue on vinyl.

The sound of the group could best be described as outsider pop. Bill Last certainly knew his way around the catalogs of Paul McCartney, Pete Ham, Michael Nesmith and (yes, even the Piano Man himself) Billy Joel. The songs themselves shift tone, mood and perspective and certainly aim to please. The recordings are for the most part unmistakably live and at times a little off kilter. Due to the large size of the band and Last’s knack for arrangements; the recordings reveal depth and nuances that are illuminated over repeat listenings. Comparisons to such outsider rock classmates such as the Langley Schools Music Project are likely due to the inexperience and enthusiasm of some of the younger student members of the group. Highlights include numbers such as You Can Always Walk Away (Song For the Only) which kind of reminds me of a Rumours era Christie McVie jam, injected with a dash of wide eyed youthful innocence. Whilst elsewhere the music veers from folk to pop to rock to country and even a little dash of lounge at times. Lazy Sunday Afternoons with it’s kazoo solos and lo-fi Beatlesque swing, indicates the band shares some inadvertent DNA with latter day groups like the Olivia Tremor Control and the harmonies on Find My Dream Come True recall classic Zombies; while expert wedding band-informed sax and organ solos fill in the gaps. The brief instrumental Nanner’s Theme evokes the breeziness of early Kevin Ayers. Joys like these abound on the record from cover to cover.

All in all, this album is sure to please those with a certain affection for outsider sounds and with word there are two more Twlight Nuages albums ripe for rediscovery. Let’s hope they get a little more of a second chance in the sun this time, before evening descends again.
Monstrous real-people garage-pop dreamer... gorgeous lo-fi working-man songcraft, epic epic pop sensibility. Perfect heart-on-their sleeve vocals from Bill and a few high-school girls, a touch of saxophone here or there, a little organ, sunny day guitar strumming, a hauntingly sweet love song with steel guitar (!!!). Amazing transcendental larger than life quality to it all, like the band thought they were every bit the class act their song-writing conveys even though everything is a little sloppy and endearingly home-spun. It's one in a million, truly, this kind of alchemy - and plays through like a true album. Very very inspired stuff that has just completely bowled me over, with wild crude living-room production and amateur charm oozing everywhere! Don't let the late recording date fool you... this is as honest and tender-hearted as when you first swooned for the Beatles or realized that music might be the saving grace of your existence. Lifts me totally out of my chair and leads me through a starry night of pure imagination and youthful wonderment. Unreal! By Joakim Peso

Here is the almost unknown (no entries in Acid Archives and Pokora's books, popsike details for one auction only) and surprisingly great (yeah!) treasure from 70's private press americana fields... Pop? Yes. With some tricksy ssw and lounge moves. Just melodic well-crafted songs - some catchy and midtempo driving, some lazy floating - one by one, stronger and stronger! With charming male/female harmonies, warm and lighthearted aura, and perhaps the vibe... it's sounding more like late 60's than late 70's... Another one of Twilight Nuages' paradoxes - combination of lo-fi bedroom/garage feel with high professional, strong and delicate, arrangements - some flute, sax, keys, steel guitar - so tasty.
You can skip short intro but the next six songs - it's like.. I don't know.. Terrific pleasure! Six songs divided by little instrumental. And maybe the last song only, with overextended beginning and little repetitive and loud chorus, seems to me not so good. The rest is excellent!
Every new album - it's like terra incognita, like new enigma for music lovers and collectors, always. Even if you already read some reviews before or your friend said you something about... In late december of last year I saw Joaquim_Peso's review on this album, his recent discovery... And now, after my listening experience with this album, I think... What a wonderful find... Congratulations! Great great thanks, Jack.

Nyl - 1976 - Nyl


01. Abery   
02. Nyarlathotep   
03. Shatt   
04. Dromadaire Bleu (Exept)   
05. Ibha   
06. Nyl   
07. Ailes D'or   
08. Blue Eyes (Revox Tapes)   
09. Dervishes

- Michel Peteau / guitar
- Stephane Rossini / drums, voices
- Jannick Top / bass (1, 3, 6)
- Patrick Fontaine / bass (4, 5, 7, 8)
- Olivier Pamela / bass, voices (2)
- Elisabeth Wiener / voices (6)
- Loy / piano (1)
- D. B. F. / synthetizer
- Freequentin / alto saxophone
- Ariel Kalmar / soprano saxophone
- Bernard Lavialle / guitar (2, 5, 7)

NYL, a French rock commune, were naturally but intentionally formed around Michel PETEAU by lots of musicians, soon after he disbanded Cheval Fou. According to their information, the personnel were Michel PETEAU (guitar), Stephane ROSSINI (drums,voices), Jannick TOP (bass; already recorded also Udu Wudu with Magma), Patrick FONTAINE (bass), Olivier PAMELA (bass and voices), Elisabeth WIENER (voices), LOY (piano), D.B.F. (synthesizer), FREEQUENTIN (alto saxophone), Ariel KALMAR (soprano saxophone), and Bernard LAVIALLE (guitar). They gathered themselves for recording live material in a studio and this could be crystallized as their only one eponymous album released via Urus Records in 1976. Fabrizio Di Vicino (Psych Up Melodies) says Richard Pinhas might publish the issue because of a phrase "Thanks To Heldon" written on the rear of the original LP. It's said they were disbanded soon after the session sadly.

French project NYL was the creative vehicle for guitarist Michel Peteau and drummer Stéphane Rossini, whose sole album saw the light on a private label in 1976. Small indie label Legend Music reissued this production on CD in 1993, and after many years out of print fledgling label Psych Up Melodies decided that it was time to make this production available again in the fall of 2011.

The original LP contained 9 tracks, of which 8 have been reissued and two of those slightly reworked already on the first reissue of this disc. The missing track, Blue Eyes (Revox Tapes) may possibly be the sound collage appearing at the very end of this reissue version however, as the album has been expanded by a total of 7 tracks. Most of them alternative versions of album tracks admittedly, and as such there isn't too much new music as such to enjoy. But for the avid fans such material is always a treat to encounter anyhow. Still, the original LP's 30 odd minutes playtime has been doubled with all the bonus material, and as these alternative versions and occasional excerpts generally hold good quality they are well worth experiencing also by those who have the original vinyl edition as a treasured keepsake.

The original album appears to be a time-typical partially improvisational effort, perhaps with a foundation in endeavours of this kind more common a few years earlier. Basic themes and motifs serves as a platform for the remaining instruments to play upon, resulting in repetitive circulating psychedelic motifs with occasional freaked out inserts as the most common features. Various guest musicians provide their own special sounds, the bass line of Jannick Top arguably the most distinct of these. Those who enjoy his output will find the sprawling title track to be a delightful experience due to that alone.

Personally I found Nyarlathotep to be the most interesting excursion, a tight and energetic effort with harnessed explosive instrumental features as something of a trademark feature, the dual contrast of light-toned clean and dark-toned distorted guitar motifs on this one a most intriguing aural experience.

If you tend to enjoy 70's psychedelic rock with a distinct improvisational element played on top of tight and planned foundation, and enjoy an album that takes some pride in visiting a number of different moods and arrangements, Nyl's sole production is one you should seek out. Magma completionists might also want to get this one due to Top's guest performance, and he's on good form on the three tracks where he contributes. Not a classic production, but those with a soft spot for this kind of material will most likely be charmed by this CD.

Abedul - 1979 - Nosotros


01. Flash 05:44
02. Ultimos Momentos 04:47
03. Walking 03:59
04. Sobre Fuego 03:27
05. The Monster and the Butterfly 04:56
06. Impresion 04:58)
07. Renacer de la Aurora 03:50
08. 84 H.D.G. 02:43

Albert Aranega - Keyboards
Narcis Baiges - Vocals
Pedro Castro - Bass
Jose L. Perez - Guitar
Lluis Visiers - Drums

If there is a band that can be called legendary, we're talking about ABEDUL from Spain, the information, photos and even albums are lost in the mist of time but we were able to find this band was formed in the year 1979 by Albert Aranega (keyboards), Narcis Baiges (Vocals), Pedro Castro (Bass), Jose L. Pérez (Guitar), and Luis Visiers (Drums) in the city of Barcelona.

Their sound was mostly mainstream with Prog tendencies, but as any respectable band from Spain has some vaguely Celtic folk melodies mixed with clear ethnic influences, the lyrics are in English and in Spanish, very close to the sound of another band called "BLOQUE".

In the year 1979 they managed to release a LP called "Nosotros" which would be almost impossible to find if it wasn't because the Japanese label Tachiko managed to release an unofficial version of their LP in a CDR but due to the bad quality of the sound seems like they never had access to the original master tapes.

It's really sad that a band like ABEDUL that was part of the fertile Spanish scenario is practically lost for ever, it's time to upgrade "Nosotros" in a decent CD format so new generations have access to them also.

Abedul is one of the forgotten and very rare bands coming from Spain in late '70's. It took , to tell the truth almost 4 years to find this album, last year in octomber it was in my hands. So, what we have here a mix of symphonic moments and some very almost discoteque sound melted with some hard rock moments in places. I like it at first listning, very uptempo in some parts and aswell a a lot of instrumental passages remind me in places of ZZTop, same drumming and same attitude, only the genre is diffrent. Is not an extrordinary album, but worth some spind from time to time. The vocal arts are ok, nothing over the top but ok, the instrumental passages are the cherry on th cake here, pieces like Ultimos momentos or Renacer de la Aurora. I will give 3 stars, a good one in my opinion, even is unnoticed and damn hard to find, this band and album desearve at least a propper consideration from time to time. Almost gone into oblivion Abedul manage to pull some reviews here and there, and that is a good thing, because like that the band will find new listners from younger generation. 3 star, good but totaly non essential.

Courtyard Music Group - 1974 - Courtyard Music Group

Courtyard Music Group 
Courtyard Music Group

01. The Seasons
02. Ante Glock Shoppe
03. Maggi's Retur
04. The Bonny Labouring Boy
05. Bridges
06. Alki Blues
07. 2074
08. Song For Claire
09. Jame-Gypsy Cream (The Magician)
10. Pebonella
11. Goodbye

 A few days ago I was talking with my friend about how many recordings still need to be found. Late '60s and especially '70s managed to produce a large number of musicians releasing their LP only as a demo or in a very small run. Most of this LP's were private pressed, which means that band members were financing production on their own (mostly). Out of Scotland came a group of folk musicians, which made an unique piece of art in 1974. Album cover artwork was handmade and also a really small run of pressing was made for their Just our Way of Saying Hello LP, as they titled it in the summer of 1974. Not much more is known, with exception of this artifact being known as an extremely rare collectors item. Band decided to get back together to do a joint project of reissuing their album professionally, but more about that in the following conversation with members of Courtyard Music Group. Lovers of acid/psychedelic folk here's a nice present for you!
Listen while you read: The Magician

In 1974 Courtyard Music Group recorded a one-of-a-kind, handmade LP called “Just our Way of Saying Hello”.
In 2015 the Courtyard Music Group is partnering with PledgeMusic to reissue the LP, and is inviting fans to pledge for a copy of the limited pressing of the vinyl, alongside a remastered digital CD, and a 48 page “making of” booklet comprising extensive liner notes, unique photos and drawings, never previously seen, which recounts the fascinating story of how this "Rarest of the rare of Acid Folk" records was made.

Dennis - 1975 - Hyperthalamus


01. Do Your Own Thing (7:18)
02. Others Do (3:56)
03. Already (6:47)
04. Grey Present Tense (19:24)

- Thomas Kretschmer / guitar
- Klaus Briest / bass
- Jim Wiley / bass
- Manne Rürup / keyboards
- Michael Kops / keyboards
- Willi Pape / sax, clarinet, flute
- Olaf Casalich / percussion
- Carsten Bohn / drums, percussion

The band DENNIS has been something like a german Krautrock supergroup in the 70s. Members of FRUMPY, THIRSTY MOON, XHOL, TOMMORROW'S GIFT and OUGENWEIDE had a collaboration for nearly two years in 1973/74. 'Hyperthalamus' is the (first) result with four excerpts. This album contains a mix of studio and live sessions with an ordinary sound quality. Here you can listen to excellent Jazz Rock combined with some Space/Psychedelic.

Do Your Own Thing is an absolutely amazing song. It starts with an authentic recording from the central railway station in Hamburg and then moves into a psychedelic part dominated by Kretschmer's guitar accompanied by an accentuated bass and drum playing. Others Do and Already are typical two-in-one songs - a Jazz Rock based jam interaction of guitar, bass and drums.

The last track Grey Present Tense is very smooth, releaxed, inspired by TRAFFIC's 'On the Road'. Finally saxophone and electric piano are getting an effective role and enough space to evolve. This song seems to be the best to me. Just a gem not only because the sound quality is good here.

An album with a wonderful unique atmosphere which deserves to be more popular. Recommended to fans of improvised Jazz Rock but unfortunately hard to get because it is not yet released on CD. And there's nothing more to say than to hope there are existing more recordings of this excellent project.

Earthrise - 1977 - Earthrise


01. Eden's Child
02. Arcturus
03. Earthrise   
04. New Clear Dawn

Bass Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Mandolin, Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals – Ken Pierog
Drums – Greg Didonato
Keyboards, Guitar, Lead Vocals – Bill Drobile

This New Jersey prog rock band of the '70s deserved much better than a small batch of private pressings, this really should have ended up on Passport Records, just like Fireballet (another New Jersey band) did. Also Earthrise never made it as a CD reissue, this was the type of album begging to be reissued on Syn-Phonic. There was apparently talks that this was to be reissued on Syn-Phonic but it never came through. So that means you'll have to seek out the LP, which is not easy, nor do copies show up frequently. But I have the luck to hear it, and it's actually rather decent prog. They're a trio, so ELP is a frequent comparison, but Bill Drobile's keyboard playing tends to be more restrained, and frequently a nice spacy feel to go with his Moog playing. Vocals sound like your typical "American prog" vocals of the time. I've also seen comparisons to SFF, probably because of the keyboard department, but unlike SFF, no Mellotron (Earthrise would have sounded great with a Mellotron). Also it's nice to see an American prog band that didn't flirt with AOR the way Kansas and Styx does. So you don't have the commercial tendencies and FM-rock ready sound with Earthrise. The sound quality isn't the best, but I have the impression that these guys didn't have a big budget so they didn't have access to the best equipment. If this ended up as a proper CD reissue, I'm sure many more people will discover this band. I dig that '70s vibe of this album, and, while I don't think it'll totally knock your socks off, there are no bad songs, the only weak spot being the needless drum solo on "New Clear Dawn". Worth having for the die-hard prog collector.

The Maureeny Wishfull - 1965 - The Maureeny Wishfull Album

The Maureeny Wishfull
The Maureeny Wishfull Album

01. Maureeny Wishfull
02. To Something New
03. I Must Fly
04. I Know, You Know Too
05. Another Winter, Another Spring
06. City Blues
07. Gypsy Girl & The Poor Boy
08. Early Bird Of Morning
09. London Town
10. Sally You've Been On The Game Too Long
11. Dream Cloudburst
12. And She Is My True Love
13. Five Verses For My Love
14. C'mon Train

John Williams (guitar, vocals)
Jimmy Page (guitar, sitar)
Big Jim Sullivan (guitar)

Of all of the installments here, this one is by far the most obscure yet. In this posting we are going to explore Jimmy Page's work on a little known record, by a now unknown singer/songwriter; John Williams' "The Maureeny Wishful Album" as well as how Jimmy received his offer to join the Yardbirds.

Released in 1968 with only 300 copies allegedly pressed and sold, this rare LP was the product of a collaboration between Jimmy Page, folkie John Williams, and Big Jim Sullivan. John Williams was an artist in the mold of Donovan a sort of traditional folk artist with a twist. Not much is known about him today. He hailed from Bedford, England, a town about 30 miles north of London, and in 1964 was the lead singer and rhythm guitarist in a band with his brother Brian known as The Authentics. Prior to "The Maureeny Wishfull Album" he had recorded a self titled solo debut in addition to a couple of 45" singles.

Jimmy met Williams when Williams was a member of The Authentics. The band was an early 60's British pop outfit who regularly performed gigs at the famed Marquee Club in London. The group had been signed to a record deal by Jimmy's manager Giorgio Gomelsky. Jimmy would go on to sit in with the band on a few recording sessions, even co-authoring one of their songs, a number titled "Without You". Williams and Page soon struck up a friendship that revolved around their mutual love of folk music, and Jimmy would pass around songs written by Williams to groups he worked sessions for, notably "Little Nightingale" performed by The Mindbenders.

After The Authentics disbanded, largely due to John Williams burgeoning interest in folk music, Williams began to write more extensively, ultimately brought in Jimmy Page and Big Jim Sullivan along with other noted session guitarist Vic Flick to work on an album. Williams' brother Brian told the story of what happened once the album was completed:

"My brother had written a lot of songs. Andrew Oldham took us on, and my brother wrote and recorded a double album called ‘The Maureeny Wishfull Album’ for Immediate Records. I did the cover art - but unfortunately. Andrew Oldham disappeared with the master tapes! John eventually got one of the master tapes back and pressed the record himself...It’s now a collectable item, because Jimmy Page plays sitar and Vik Flic, Big Jim Sullivan (who is now Tom Jones’ guitarist) and all the good session artists of the time are on it. The master tape of the other album, which I’m playing on, was unfortunately never recovered."

Jimmy is credited with playing guitar as well as sitar on the album, with John Williams doing the vocal work. There isn't any credited producer, but one can assume that Page had a large amount of input upon how the sound of the album was crafted.

Today the album can be heard around the internet and downloaded from here or there, but good luck finding a physical copy. Oddly enough, a number of songs on the album are published by James Page Publishing, an entity that seems to have existed for only one venture.

Interestingly enough Brian Williams has claimed that it was he who introduced Jimmy to Giorgio Gomelsky and was the go between for the offer Jimmy received to take over lead guitar duties in the Yardbirds after Eric Clapton left,

"It was me that actually introduced Jimmy Page to the Yardbirds. I had known Jimmy since he played with Neil Christian and the Crusaders; I used to take over his guitar and back him while he played harmonica. When he left, I took over as lead guitar, but that was at the same time as the Authentics took off in the West End, so I left after about two weeks.

One Saturday Jimmy and I were wandering round the West End guitar shops - Lew Davis’ and the like. He was at a loose end and we were playing the Crawdaddy, so he came along and played harmonica for us. He was really good - sounded like Sonny Boy Williamson.

That happened a couple of times and Giorgio Gomelsky got to hear about it, so when Eric Clapton left the Yardbirds, he said, “You know Jimmy Page, don’t you? Could you bring him to the Marquee, because we’d like to talk to him?”

So I got hold of Jimmy and we went to the Marquee on a Wednesday afternoon, which I’ll always remember because Howlin’ Wolf was rehearsing there and while Jimmy Page went off with Giorgio to talk about the Yardbirds, Howlin’ Wolf and I demolished a bottle of Scotch!

Eventually, Jimmy turned the Yardbirds down, but he introduced them to Jeff Beck, who was a big mate, and then of course Jeff Beck brought Jimmy Page into the band later, and that was the start of Led Zeppelin."

Ardo Dombec - 1971 - Ardo Dombec

Ardo Dombec
Ardo Dombec

01. Spectaculum (4:02)
02. Supper Time (3:19)
03. A Bit Near the Knuckle (4:32)
04. Clean-Up Sunday (6:50)
05. Downtown Paradise Lost (5:52)
06. Oh, Sorry (0:08)
07. 108 (4:36)
08. Unchangable Things?! (5:58)
09. Heavenly Rose (3:54)
10. Open The Door, Open Your Mind (2:11)
11. Young And Strong (3:15)
12. Riverside (4:15)

- Helmut Hachmann / sax, flute
- Harald Gleu / guitar and vocals
- Wolfgang Spillner / drums and vocals
- Michael Ufer / bass

Not much is known about ARDO DOMBEC except that they were an early 70's German prog band who released an album with a heavy, bluesy, and slightly jazzy feel, ending up barely sounding German at all. Often compared to COLOSSEUM, their music features a lot of saxophone, often matched by electric guitar and flute. Their arrangements are upbeat and bright, yet the lyrics are rather dark and cynical in contrast. The band consisted of Helmut Hachmann on sax and flute, Harald Gleu on guitar and vocals, Wolfgang Spillner on drums and vocals, and Michael Ufer on bass.

Their only cd, entitled simply "Ardo Dombec" (1971), collects just about everything the band has ever recorded. At times, their jazzy material flirts with pop and at other times, it sounds downright baroque. The band obviously enjoys strange and complex rhythms, SOFT MACHINE style. Although they seem to favour vocal tracks (which aren't exactly their forte), it is in the instrumental sections that they truly shine. Technically speaking, the musicianship is fairly good but the compositions may lack a little inspiration and excitement.

Ardo Dombec differs from other folk-blues-fusion-hard rock bands of the early 70's by the presence of omnipresent visceral saxophone arrangements that remain pretty structured, sometimes reminding the Dutch fusion band Solution. Because of the aforementioned subgenres, Ardo Dombec perfectly falls into the art rock category. The drums and bass are often very fast, rhythmic and complex, flirting with fusion elements, and reminding the early Camel without the keyboards. Despite their German origin, Ardo Dombec have nothing to do with the krautrock subgenre. The lyrics are sung in English. The tracks are pretty progressive for 1971. Many flute parts a la Jethro Tull, Focus and even Camel add some interesting variety; the track with the very pleasant visceral harmonica exhibition also shows how versatile the members can be. The music is quite addictive, disciplined and structured: this allows me to qualify the album as excellent. Some catchy tracks, combined with the typical lead vocals, should even slightly remind the listener a sophisticated Elvis Presley!

Not an essential album by any means but certainly worth a listen, if only for Hachmann's heavy sax grooves.

Aqua - 1972 - Aqua


01. Bolero
02. Soul of my soul
03. Tempest
04. There is a place
05. Going my way
06. Teenage feelings
07. No use to live on
08. No more love

Martin Ulrich (g, b, choir)
Klaus Borucki (voc)
Martin Großkurth (key, choir)
Georg Röber (b)
Bernd Billhardt (dr)
Jörg Wiesner (key, choir)
Wolfgang Eckhardt (b, choir)
Roy Kaleve (dr, choir)
Mike Fajgel (voc)
Jürgen Steinbrecher (b, choir)

Here something quite special, not known by everyone: Aqua were founded in Kassel in 1972. They played progressive rock like it was at fashion at those times, thus with a lot of organ. In 1972, too, they recorded four self-written songs as a demo for promoters and record companies. Though they couldn’t make a record company to become interested they got a lot of gigs. Thus, they themselves released a 7" single “Going my way”/“Teenage feelings” in 1978, already more smoothed out. In 1981, they did an LP which already was mainstream, like it was up to date, then. The number of copies made was 1000 for each record. The here available CD contains the until now unreleased four songs of 1972, both tracks of their single, and according to the demand of the artists two songs from the LP which still show some progressive influences.

Annexus Quam - 1972 - Beziehungen

Annexus Quam

01. Trobluhs el E Isch (5:29)
02. Leyenburg 1 (14:05)
03. Dreh Dich Nicht Um (16:20)
04. Leyenburg 2 (3:35)

- Peter Werner / guitar
- Hans Kamper / trombone, guitar, flute
- Ove Volquartz / flute, saxophone
- Harald Klemm / zither, tabla, guitar, Bendira
- Martin Habenicht / bass

Annexus Quam underwent a radical change of experimental rock style between the splendid debut album "Osmose" and their sophomore effort "Beziehungen". For this album, the band got rid of a permanent percussive section and focused more decidedly on the free-spirited elaboration of horns and flutes and the enhancement of the avant-garde potential (already present in "Osmose" but handled within a more explicit frame). In this line of work, the band had it clear that they better highlight their talent to create and develop atmospheres as a conjunction of individuals instead of going for a compact collective sound. The album kicks off with 'Trobluhs el E Isch', a track softly relying on partially defined textures that feature vivid dialogues between sax and trombone, with the dual guitar strumming and controlled bass lines preparing a pertinent harmonic foundation, pretty much in the cosmic vein. In fact, this track is related to the quieter aspects of the band's debut album (and I'm not the first one to notice this). The grayish atmosphere delivered in this opener is succeeded by the inscrutable 'Leyenburg 1', a mysterious yet delicious exercise on free jazz-meets-contemporary chamber. Once again, the sax and the trombone indulge in dialogues that set relevant moods for the track's development, but this time the structure is less solid: it is something that goes on deconstructing and reshaping as the interactions go on. Ambiences vary from deceitfully relaxing to exhilarating and back again. The guitar phrases and percussive tricks stand somewhere between the chaotic side of late 70s psychedelia and the musique concrete-friendly trends that were at the time followed by Faust and Cluster. Meanwhile, the contrabass stands on the jazzier side of things, delivering discrete cadences in calculated places. The 16+ minute long 'Dreh Dich Nicht Um' is set on a languid, hypnotic structure of rhythm guitars (one of them Spanish) and bass subtle ornaments that states a tricky hint to jazz atmospheres: the jazz factor is first capitalized by the flute, and then by the sax. Volquartz shines here like he had never done it before on any AQ piece: when his sax is left alone, he knows how to feature even in those instants in which the void is utilized. At one point, chimes and hand percussions emerge to prepare the road for the reappearance of the Spanish guitar, which now plays a series of stylish arpeggios in a contemporary chamber mode. The flute lines are created with a sense of encapsulated energy, while the soft pulsations displayed on the two guitars bring an exotic mood similar to Amon Düül II's ethnic moments or Agitation Free (without the drums, of course). 'Leyenburg 2' retakes the avant-garde determination of 'Leyenburg 2', until we get to the 2'20" mark, which is when the marriage of trombone and bowed contrabass set the foundation for the controlled coda, whose fade-out comes too soon. This is a weird album, indeed, yet its musical excellence in terms of prog krautrock-style is perfectly patent (at least, to my ears). Many AQ connoisseurs reasonably prefer the debut album, but "Beziehungen" is the album that should reveal us the floating side of their music.

Annexus Quam - 1970 - Osmose

Annexus Quam

01. Osmose I (4:15)
02. Osmose II (3:11)
03. Osmose III (10:36)
04. Osmose IV (18:20)

- Uwe Bick / drums, vocals, percussion
- Jürgen Jonuschies / bass, vocals, percussion
- Werner Hostermann / clarinet, organ, vocals, percussion
- Peter Werner / guitar, vocals, percussion
- Hans Kämper / spanish guitar, trombone, vocals, percussion
- Ove Volquartz / saxophone, flute
- Harald Klemm / flute, vocals, percussion

 Starting out as early as 67 under the name of Ambition Of Music, AQ is one of those early 70's wonder in Krautrock, all the more legendary for having their two albums released on the famous Ohr label, even if both are fairly different from each other. On this debut album, AQ is a septet with most of the members being multi-instrumentalists, and their debut contained four unnamed tracks (two short and two long ones), the whole thing packaged in a many foldout artwork sleeve making this album rather expensive in its vinyl form. Not everything is perfect on this album, especially in the numerous fade-outs (some in-built in the tracks), but overall the album is a pure joy to have.

The music presented on this album is strange form of psychedelic jazz-rock (a bit like if Nucleus met the Saucerful-era Floyd), which reminds me a bit of Missus Beastly's early albums. The first two tracks are the short ones but not necessarily the easiest to cope with, far from it, really!! The first is a very-slow track that is unbelievable heavy which freaks out completely into heavy spacy-echoed sounds. Grandiose. The second track is a much faster three-minute affair, which stands a bit alone out of line with the rest of the album's style, but it is absolutely nothing shocking. This is the rockiest and least jazzy track on the album and the weakest. The first of the long tracks (rounding up side one) is an altogether different affair with its almost 11-mins and its Nucleus-styled brass section cross with an organ that you'd swear is played by a certain Mr Wright, while the wordless vocalizings is reminiscent of a raunchier Wyatt on Third. This is, along with the leadoff track, Osmose's apex.

The second side is taken up by the sidelong 18-min+ track, which bases its sound on the previous tracks but it has some lengths, especially in the percussion passage about two thirds of the way into the track and losses itself.

As their following album will follow two years later, under a fairly different line-up, being much more improvised free jazz, Osmose is from far AQ's best works and very much essential to early Krautrock history. All I have seen so far is a Spalax label reissue of this album (which I heard is OOP), but hopefully this will be reissued with the Kollodium bonus track on the Ohrenschmaus sampler album. Much worth the eavesdropping.

Analogy - 1972 - Analogy


01. Dark Reflections (7:00)
02. Weeping May Endure (4:50)
03. Indian Meditation (4:10)
04. Tin's Song (1:40)
05. Analogy (9:45)
06. The Year's At The Spring (4:35)
07. Pan-Am Flight 249 (5:15)
08. Milan On A Sunday Morning (6:07)

- H. J. "Mops" Nienhaus / drums
- Jutta Nienhaus / lead vocals
- Nicola Pankoff / keyboards
- Wolfgang Schoene / bass
- Martin Thurn / 12 strings acoustic & electric guitars, flute, bongos

In 1968 German Martin Thurn (guitar) went to an international school in Varese (North Italy) where he founded a band named SONS OF GIOVE. Other members were Wolfgang Schoene, Thomas Schmidt (later PELL MELL) and Jutta Nienhaus. Renamed to JOICE (due to a misprint later YOICE) the band went on in 1970 with drummer Hermann-Jürgen Nienhaus (brother of Jutta) and Mauro Rattaggi (bass), the only italian member of the band. After a lot of gigs in the south of Swiss and North Italy they were able to buy some professional equipment and in 1971 JOICE got a contract with an italian label. During a festival in Arona a spontanous collaboration happened with keyboarder Nikola Pankoff whilst playing a free interpretation of Pink Floyd's "Atom Heart Mother". Pankoff became a band member afterwards. Their first release was the Single "Sold Out/God's Own Land", two songs written by Thurn. At the end of the year Rattaggi had to join the army and left the band. Schoene changed to the bass.

The recordings for their first LP started early 1972 in Milan and they finally renamed to ANALOGY corresponding to the title of their most important song. Soon some trouble occured about the sleeve pictures. The band wanted an artwork illustrated by Pankoff but the label demanded on some nude photos which had been taken for the former single production. Rattaggi was covered by the blue vertical bar which includes the band logo. The songs of their debut are gradually developed with a more psychedelic and experimental style provided with a dark atmosphere. ANALOGY's distinctions were Jutta Nienhaus' unique vocals, Thurn's and Pankoff's impressive instrumental skills on guitar and Hammond organ. In Italy the band now could reach some attention and appreciation. They played at a Rock festival in Rome with 30.000 spectators, appeared during some RAI radio sessions and could also be seen on TV. But ANALOGY remained practically unknown outside of Italy though.

In September 1972 Pankoff left the band because of some disagreements about the musical direction. 1973 it came to a new collaboration with flute player Rocco Abate, member of the Milano Scala Orchestra, who was searching for new experiences. Martin Thurn and Wolfgang Schoene composed a 30 minute set of thematically-linked musical pieces simply entitled "The Suite". In this work the classical music of the Renaissance-period was combined with Progressive Rock. ANALOGY played this several times live and received good reviews. The band had successful performances together with ATOMIC ROOSTER and CURVED AIR but nevertheless problems with the money were growing. Additionally Rocco Abate's issues increased to perform his obligations. So in November 1973 ANALOGY had the last live performance and disbanded at the end of the year.

Afterwards Martin Thurn, Jutta Nienhaus and her brother looked forward to a longer cooperation with Franco Battiato. Jutta Nienhaus appeared on the 1973 release Sulle Corde Di Aries. Some months later their plans failed because Battiato's interests changed to more synthesizer based music. They went on tour with Dario Fo's Collettivo Teatrale La Comune and during one performance in Milan they happened to be arrested and sent to jail for two days. After this experience they left the project and in summer 1974 the original JOICE line-up joined in a new project with JUMBO keyboarder Sergio Conte which was not very successful. So Martin Thurn and Jutta Nienhaus went to England where they had several other collaborations during the next years. The second ANALOGY album "The Suite" based on their live performances in 1973 with more Prog Folk impressions. It was completed and recorded in 1980 along with members of their subsequent band EARTHBOUND. 1994/95 they finally reworked some ANALOGY songs together with Mauro Rattaggi and released "25 Years Later" including the early JOICE songs in two different versions.

Ainigma - 1973 - Diluvium


01. Prejudice (5:33)
02. You Must Run (7:31)
03. All Things Are Fading (5:15)
04. Diluvium (17:51)
05. Thunderstorm (5:15)
06. Diluvium (Instrumental)

- Willy Klüter / organ, lead vocals
- Wolfgang Netzer / guitar, bass, backing vocals
- Michael Klüter / drums

An other mysterious, dark stoner rock effort from 70's Germany. Ainigma only release one album which is a pure krautrock classic, totally explosive in terms of emotions, obviously rocking and lovely psychedelic. "Prejudice" starts with dreamlike introspective organ atmospheres then rapidly catch the essence of a jam session, with abundant improvised Hammond organs, heavy guitars. "All things are fading" is a moody, depressive but furiously rocking with damaged riffs and sad guitar solos. The only default comes from the vocals which are rather weak. "Diluvium" is a standard heavy rock epic with melancholic guitar breaks, touching melodies, dynamic, captivating organ melodies. "Thunderstorm" features ultra doom like heavy guitars (closed to German Oak), weird, chaotic improvised ambiences. This one can't be missed by fans of vintage space rock and early krautrock.

Action - 1972 - Action


01 - Miscarriage Of Human Thinking (Part I) 3:30
02 - Miscarriage Of Human Thinking (Part II) 13:14
03 - Hell Track 11:58
04 - You Are The Lady - 7:54
05 - Hell Track (Live) 11:50
06 - Miscarriage of Human Thinking (Live) 15:56
07 - You Are the Lady (Live) 8:43

Wolfgang Benki - Vocals)
Otto Nunold - Organ)
Harald Schindler - Bass)
Charlie Fottner - Guitar)
Ernest Cadet - Drums)

One of many obscure bands from the 1970's not documented at the time. Apparently the album was recorded for Kerston Records in 1972, but was never released. Action hailed from Zweibrucken, and played a heavy prog blend quite obviously influenced by Deep Purple, organ fronted and with Wolfgang Benki notably indebted to Ian Gillan. Over all it sounds more like a demo than a proper album. Side 1's two-part opus feels a bit like early Tomorrow's Gift (hints of Vanilla Fudge and Pink Floyd). Obviously unfinished, the final tracks are a live recording of rather mediocre quality.

The Gary Moore Band 1973 Grinding Stone

The Gary Moore Band
Grinding Stone

01. Grinding Stone 9:39
02. Time to Heal 6:21
03. Sail Across the Mountain 7:16
04. The Energy Dance 2:24
05. Spirit 17:15
06. Boogie My Way Back Home 5:42

Gary Moore - guitar, vocals
Frank Boylan - bass guitar
John Curtis - bass guitar
Philip Donnelly - Rhythm-guitar
Pearse Kelly - percussion, drums
Jan Schelhaas - keyboards

Released in 1973, Grinding Stone was Gary Moore's solo debut. The music on this album could be described as experimental Boogie Rock, but on the album Moore explores a number of styles, from the title track's instrumental Boogie Rock to soulful vocals in "Sail Across the Mountain" and 17 minutes of guitar and keyboard excursions in the surprisingly funky "Spirit."

Often cited as an overlooked gem and totally ahead of its time, Grinding Stone showcases Moore at his most experimental, mixing up styles and a taste of the triumphs that followed with his work in Colosseum II & Thin Lizzy.

Skid Row - 1971 - Skid Row

Skid Row
Skid Row

01. Benedicts Cherry Wine
02. Saturday Morning Man
03. Crystal Ball
04. Mr De-Luxe
05. Girl Called Winter
06. Morning Star Avenue
07. Silver Bird

Gary Moore - Guitar, Vocals
Brush Shiels - Bass, Vocals
Noel Bridgeman - Drums, Vocals

Recorded at De Lanelea Studios in 1971, released in 1990

Skid Row - 1971 - 34 Hours

Skid Row
34 Hours

01. Night of the Warm Witch 9:04
02. First Thing in the Morning 1:58
03. Mar 6:38
04. Go, I'm Never Gonna Let You, Pt. 1 8:50
05. Lonesome Still 3:53
06. Love Story, Pt. 1 5:08

Gary Moore - Guitar, Vocals
Brush Shiels - Bass, Vocals
Noel Bridgeman - Drums, Vocals

At the end of the sixties Skid Row went to London to become an important part of the British blues boom. At that time the original lead singer Phil Lynott had left the group, and Brush Shiels took his place. The first single was released on the Song label and was called "New Places, Old Faces". It was a fine work of Moore's 12-string guitar art. The next single "Saturday Morning Man" made the charts on a minor level and helped the band get in contact with a major company like CBS.

They started with the single "Dandy's Gone Part I". It was a bluesy neo-psychedelic piece of hard modern rock music, and it shows the enormous talent of Gary Moore once again. At this point Skid Row went into the studio and took eleven hours to produce the debut album, "Skid" with a strange, but fascinating mixture of raw blues and progressive jazz rock with tribal undertones.

Skid Row was a band that never really made it to the top, but always had a strong loyal following. The band toured two times in the USA and Europe. In between these tours they released their second and last album, "34 Hours". Indeed, they only needed 34 hours to create this little masterpiece. Brush Shiels used his bass as a melody instrument, inspired by the jazz sounds of Dave Brubeck and Oscar Peterson. On the other hand, Gary Moore was definitely bringing forth the hard rock influences by using such modern technological achievements as wah-wah tricks and reaction coupling.

The music of "34 Hours" was completely different, compared with the debut. There were lots of changes in pace and musical style. One of the most important songs on the album was the straight boogie "Go, I'm Never Gonna Let You Go, Part I" and another one, the mid-tempo slice of country/blues, "Lonesome Still". At this point, Skid Row seemed to be on their way to the top, but during their preparations for the third US tour, Gary Moore decided quit the band and go solo.

The rest of the band tried to reform Skid Row a few months later with Paul Chapman on guitar, but the chemistry and magic of the old formation was gone. Returning to Dublin, Bridgemore and Shiels played together for a few years under the old moniker. Chapman later turned up in UFO and Lone Star.

Gary Moore released his solo album "Grinding Stone" in 1973 and joined the second generation of Colosseum. He worked together with Thin Lizzy a few times and recorded more solo LP's, "Back On The Streets" and "G-Force" at the end of the seventies. At the beginning of the following decade he worked with Cozy Powell, Greg Lake, Mother's Finest and, once again, Thin Lizzy. In the years 1982/83 four more albums of his were released and at the end of the eighties, Gary become a mega star as one of the most popular guitar-axeman of the world.

Skid Row - 1970 - Skid

Skid Row

01. Mad Dog Woman 3:48
02. Virgo's Daughter 4:24
03. Heading Home Again 2:44
04. An Awful Lot of Woman 2:06
05. Unco-Up Showband Blues 6:14
06. For Those Who Do 4:53
07. After I'm Gone 2:55
08. The Man Who Never Was 2:30
09. Felicity 11:08

Brush Shiels: Bass
Noel Bridgeman: Drums
Gary Moore: Guitars, Vocals

The band was formed in 1967, comprising Brush Shiels on bass guitar, Noel (Nollaig) Bridgeman (currently with Van Morrison) on drums, Phil Lynott on vocals, and Bernard (Bernie) Cheevers on lead guitar. Cheevers was replaced by the 16-year-old Gary Moore in 1969, and the band recorded a single, Misdemeanour Dream Felicity/New Places, Old Faces, for the Irish Song Records label (the only recording of Lynott with Skid Row). Later that year Shiels dropped Lynott from the line-up, converting Skid Row to a power trio by making Moore the lead vocalist. By way of compensation, he taught Lynott to play bass, and Lynott went on to international fame as founder, bassist and vocalist for Thin Lizzy. The band recorded a second single for Song, Saturday Morning Man/Mervyn Aldridge. These two singles, plus three tracks from a BBC recording, were issued on the Hux label as "Live and on Song"" in April 2006.

Skid Row played support to many of the great rock groups of the sixties, including Fleetwood Mac. Moore was influenced by the Fleetwood Mac guitarist Peter Green, who was in turn impressed by Moore's guitar playing and introduced him to the Columbia record company. The band released its first album "Skid", in October 1970. A second LP, entitled "34 Hours" - so entitled because it took them a mere 34 hours to record it - was released in 1971. Moore left the band in December 1971 (he was replaced by Paul Chapman, later of UFO) and later played with Thin Lizzy. Chapman left in July 1972.The rest of their recorded material was released in 1990 and 1991.

Although the group had little success outside Ireland and the UK (Skid reached no. 30 on the UK album charts), its influence on Irish rock music (and consequently on rock music in general) was considerable.In 1987 Moore sold the name Skid Row to the American heavy metal band for $35,000. Shiels has said that he has always been unhappy at the group 'stealing their name', and said of manager Doc Magee, "he could be Doc Marten for all I know...but he's going to get a kick up the arse."

Granny's Intentions - 1968 - Honest Injun

Granny's Intentions
Honest Injun

01. Maybe
02. We Both Need to Know
03. Good Bye
04. Fifty Years On
05. Susan of the Country
06. Rise Then Fall
07. With Salty Eyes, Dirty Lies
08. Fourthskin Blues
09. Nutmeg, Bitter- Sweet
10. I'm Going
11. Heavy Loaded Minds

Piano, Organ, Harpsichord – John Ryan (6)
Bass, Flute, Whistle – Pete Cummins
Drums – Noel Bridgeman, Pat Nash
Guitar – Gary Moore (tracks: 2 to 8, and 11)
Guitar, Mandolin – Johnny Hockedy
Vocals – Johnny Duhan

HONEST INJUN is a 1970 release by bluesy Irish country-rock band Granny's Intention, featuring Gary Moore on guitar and including "We Both Need To Know."

Both a period piece and a collectors' item, the release of “Honest Injun” by Granny's Intentions will no doubt be of immense interest to Gary Moore/Thin Lizzy fans. For such a well-chronicled musician, little information is available on Granny's Intentions, with whom Gary made his recording debut at the tender age of 17. Most biographies of Moore leap from his juncture in Skid Row with Phil Lynott in the late 60s directly to his joining Thin Lizzy in 1974, neglecting to mention Granny's Intentions. For close on 30 years copies of “Honest Injun” have been highly sought after, but its historical and musical context has been lost. Although the band hailed from Limerick, they were living in Dublin when Moore first met them.

Formed in 1965, Granny's Intentions were popular on their home turf but had started to unravel when recording of the album commenced. Three tracks were cut in London with guitarist John Hockedy and former Skid Row drummer Noel Bridgeman before they split up. Back in Ireland, however, Granny's Intentions reformed and recruited Gary Moore with whom they completed the album at Decca Studios in London. The album was released on the Deram label in 1970, but despite its merits was already out of step with the prevailing trends. The band's moniker had misleading psychedelic nuance, whilst musically they were caught between the cusp of two eras; homespun earthiness melding with blues-orientated rock which would flourish in the 70s, although the flavour of “Honest Injun” is closer to Sherwood Forest than the Mississippi Delta.

Throughout, Moore's playing is accomplished and flawless, his prowess belying his years, but what of the rest of the band? Already renowned for his ability as a budding songwriter, vocalist Johnny Duhan has a ballsy sincerity that fits the proscribed territory, songs for earnest travelling men, who spend their days 'telling tales of nights spent with right females', according to the lyrics anyway. Duhan later earned great acclaim for his compositions, and his material has since been covered by the likes of Christy Moore, The Irish Tenors, Mary Black, Van Morrison and The Dubliners. His best-known number, 'The Voyage', has become a standard.

Drummer Noel Bridgeman is effortlessly appropriate, straight-forward where required, a little more complex when necessary, as on “I'm Going”, which led eventually to a guest appearance with Clannad. As of bass player and flautist Pete Cummings, guitarist Johnny Hockedy, horn player Zack Lawrence and Pat Nash who took care of the keyboard and drums, little is to be divined.

This could be doing them a disservice, but since recording “Honest Injun”, they seem to have slipped off the map, at least in terms of rock history. Not even a trawl around the internet reveals any clues, although Pat Nash may have become a race driver in Idaho. One can only presume that producer Wayne Bickerton went on to a sweet future as a tunesmith, co-writing “Sugar Baby Love”, which was a hit for The Rubettes, and “Sugar Candy Kisses” for Mac and Katie Kissoon. But the fortunes of the band, aside from Moore and Johnny Duhan, who joined forces again in 1982, when Gary played on the singer's self-titled album, remain something of a mystery. Despite this, however, the music can now speak for itself, and provides a fascinating record of two influential artistes in the making.

Andwella - 1971 - People's People

People's People

01. She Taught Me to Love 3:15
02. Saint Bartholomew 3:00
03. The World of Angelique 2:26
04. Mississippi Water 3:28
05. I've Got My Own 2:36
06. Are You Ready 2:30
07. Four Days in September 3:47
08. Lazy Days 1:24
09. People's People 3:16
10. Behind the Paint Scheme 3:26
11. All For You 2:11

– David Lewis – lead vocals, guitar, piano, organ, arranger, producer
– Dave McDougall – piano, organ, arranger
– Dave Struthers – bass, vocals
– Jack McCulloch – drums, percussion

As a rock music fan for over thirty years, I have literally listened to thousands of song and albums, and Andwella's People's People has always rated among the top notch albums of my personal choice.

This is not a work of innovation. It is just a combination of good song writing throughout, simple but well arranged backing, and hearty & soulful singing. To some ears, Dave Lewis's vocal may sound too soft and smooth, and the song writing too folky-orieted, but precisely because of these features, this album has an enduring appeal.

If you are looking for something psych or provocative to add to your collection, this is not for you.  
If you are just looking for good music to listen to, what else do you need?

Andwella - 1970 - World's End

World's End

01. Hold On To Your Mind
02. Lady Love
03. Michael Fitzhenry
04. I'm Just Happy to See You Get Her
05. Just How Long
06. World's End (Part One)
07. World's End (Part Two)
08. Back on the Road
09. I Got a Woman
10. Reason for Leaving
11. Shadow of the Night

Gordon Barton: Drums
Dave Lewis: Guitar, Piano, Organ, Vocals
Nigel Smith: Bass, Vocals
Dave McDougall: Keyboards

This band started life as a trio from Northern Ireland called Method, changing their name to Andwella's Dream after moving to London in 1968. After the first LP they were known simply as Andwella.
Love And Poetry is a highly-rated psychedelic album, which featured guest artist Bob Downes playing sax, flute etc. All the songs were written by Dave Lewis. The highlights are the opening track, The Days Grew Longer For Love, which like most tracks is slow and melodic but with killer guitar leads; the heavier psychedelic number Sunday and Cocaine and Shades Of Grey, two tracks which veer towards progressive rock with plenty of organ and jazzy guitar. CBS released three singles from the album including two non-album sides: Missus Man and Mister Sunshine. Of these, Sunday is a superb slice of psychedelic rock with some Hendrix-influenced guitar work.
In 1970 they switched to Reflection for whom they recorded two albums, neither of which matched their first effort and two 45s. The World's End album was also comprised entirely of Dave Lewis compositions, but most of the tracks were more mainstream with string orchestrations, brass arrangements and background vocals. The best tracks are the mid-tempo R&B influenced I Got A Woman with flute solo, jazzy piano and guitar; two tracks (Reason For Living and Shadow Of The Night), which sound similar to Traffic and the slow instrumental Michael Fitzhenry which featured some good guitar work and flute. On the down side Back On The Road was pale imitation of The Band's The Weight. The flip side of their first 45 was an instrumental credited to Andwella. A Mike Fitzhenry appears on the credits of the first album as one of the recording engineers.
Lewis was a multi-instrumentalist and an acclaimed songwriter who also recorded a privately-pressed album in 1970. He also made further solo albums. McCulloch had previously played with One In A Million, Thunderclap Newman and with Struthers had been with short-lived group 'McCullochs, Struthers and Patterson' (the other members being Jimmy McCulloch and Robbie Patterson). After Andwella he went on to a group called 'White Line', with his brother Jimmy. McDougall went on to work with Speedy Keen (ex-Thunderclap Newman), while Smith joined Khan.

Andwellas Dream - 1969 - Love and Poetry

Andwellas Dream
Love and Poetry

01. The Days Grew Longer For Love
02. Sunday
03. Lost A Number Found A King
04. Man Without A Name
05. Clockwork Man
06. Cocaine
07. Shades Of Grey
08. High On A Mountain
09. Andwella
10. Midday Sun
11. Take My Road
12. Felix
13. Goodbye
14. Mister Sunshine (Junkie Woman Blues) (Bonus Single)
15. Mrs. Man (Bonus Single)
16. Take My Road (Bonus Alternate)
17. Man Without A Name (Bonus Alternate)

- Dave Lewis / Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
- Bob Downes / Flute, Percussion
- Nigel Portman Smith / Bass
- Gordon Barton / Drums

Andwellas Dream emerged in Belfast, Ireland in the mid 60's lead by the child prodigy Dave Lewis. Originally called “Method”, the band was one of the founders of the Irish Rock scene. In the late 60's “Method” moved to London and changed their name to “Andwella’s Dream” – a name that came to Dave Lewis in a dream – and over two days in a studio in Denmark Street they recorded what was to become their sole album, “Love and Poetry”.

“Love and Poetry” captures the cusp of the moment just before the abstract abandon of psychedelia mutated into the leaden predictability of progressive rock. Composed entirely of Dave Lewis songs, the album evokes the heady atmosphere of the late ’60's with druggy utopian themes and innocent musical experimentation.

Hard psychedelic rock with blistering guitar work is mixed with contemporary pop themes given a liberal dose of backwards effects exotic percussion, flute and acoustic guitar.

Prof. Wolfff - 1971 - Prof. Wolfff

Prof. Wolfff
Prof. Wolfff

01. Hetzjagd (9:59)
02. Hans Im Glück (7:46)
03. Missverständnis (4.05)
04. Das Zimmer (4:52)
05. Weh Uns (9:48)
06. Hetzjagd [Radio Mix] (3:17)

- Klaus-Peter Schweitzer / guitar, piano, vocals
- 'Romi' Schickle / organ
- 'Mondo' Zech / bass
- Michael Sametinger / drums
- Friedrich Herrmann / guitar, vocals, harmonica

PROF. WOLFFF, a german band from Ulm, started in the early 70's and unfortunately produced only one album. Remarkable is the use of lyrics in german similar to FLOH DE COLOGNE. Despite that the band never had a political approach the lyrics are provoking a lot though trying to digest the rebellious times in which they lived. This is combined with the typical mix of blues, folk and psychedelia which can be also defined as krautrock. As a result, other musicians must have been inspired for sure to compose rock songs using the native german language. The band was busy with gigs all over germany and also had a TV appearance.

The first line-up consisted of Klaus-Peter 'KP' Schweitzer (guitar, piano, vocals) who basically managed the songwriting, Rolf-Michael 'Romi' Schickle (organ), Detlev 'Mondo' Zech (bass), Michael 'Sam' Sametinger (drums, percussion) and Friedrich 'Fritz' Herrmann (guitar, vocals, harmonica). Where does the obscure band name come from? It's pointed out somewhat legendary, mysteriously. One of several possibilities: Schweitzer was sitting in a cafe and asking the waitress for the name of a unrefined looking man. The answer was: "Prof. Wolfff" and he spontaneously decided to use this label.

PROF. WOLFFF recorded its self-titled album in October 1971 at the Jankowsky studio, Stuttgart. It was produced by Jonas Porst, the manager of IHRE KINDER. The original vinyl release contains 5 songs whereas two of them nearly reach the 10 minute mark. Raw guitars and prominent hammond organ like PROCOL HARUM or DEEP PURPLE give a heavy rock appeal. On the other hand you can find two folk songs with chorus vocals as well as classical motifs which are making this album unique as a whole. The Second Battle CD reissue from 1998 also contains the shortened radio mix of the song 'Hetzjagd' as a bonus. Some months after the release the band split unexpectedly. One reason was that Mondo Zech had to join the civil service.

Fritz Herrmann changed to the bass and moved on together with Romi Schickle under the new name PROF. WOLFFF ENSEMBLE. Musically remarkable is the reorientation at instrumental jazz rock. Peter Bochtler played the drums furthermore with the support of several guest musicians until Detlev Joe Rodius (guitar) became a constant member. The band toured until the disbanding early 1974 but never produced a release at all. PROF. WOLFF has been brought to life once again in the second half of the 70's by Herrmann who went to Munich and gathered several musicians of the local scene (MISSUS BEASTLY, MUNJU, EMBRYO) to play improvised jazz rock/fusion. The final split took place in 1982.

PROF. WOLFFF's self-titled album is technically impressing. The songs have been recorded in 1971 at the Jankowsky studio, Stuttgart, produced by Jonas Porst who also was the manager of IHRE KINDER. You can explore excellent heavy blues rock with folk and psych contributions dominated by a prominent Hammond organ. The band members have been pioneers using strong political lyrics in german. Sometimes music and texts seem to be very contrary - but on the other hand this makes it very unique. Remarkable are also excellent vocals which was not taken for granted based on german bands. Distributed by the Metronom label in 1972 this album is one of the rare searched vinyls of the german progressive rock history.

The first and the last song are musically remembering at DEEP PURPLE and VANILLA FUDGE in parts. The dramatical Hetzjagd is about hunting in general. The calm sections are accompanied by a decent organ but the vocals are not always clear enough to catch though. 'Nobody thinks of the victims' - it's ambiguous - probably a metaphor about attacks against dissidents. Weh Uns is provided with heavy lyrics describing war respectively disease victims. Very provoking and hard to digest especially for german people. The last two minutes of the song are even a great dissent - a happy flavour tendered by acoustic guitar and organ competes with hard words on the other hand culminating in a sweeping blow. 'It will happen if you don't say NO' - a numb robotic voice is offering a flaming appeal to prevent the end of the human race.

Hans im Glück is a very interesting interpretation of the eponymous german fairy-tale, in a modern editing though. My highlight because music and lyrics are in a perfect unity. Missverständnis follows, a lot more folky with acoustic guitars and bongo percussion. The band picks up the story of Jesus and is leading over to the political situation in germany afterwards using the example of the capture and dead of a communist. Das Zimmer is also provided in a light and folky mood with a decent flute whereas the prof is criticizing the bourgeois who are comdemning and excluding the young generation.

Cirkus - 1998 - Cirkus III: Pantomyme

Cirkus III: Pantomyme

01. Live For The Moment
02. No Fun
03. Polaroid Pictures
04. Letter To Simone
05. Fat Cat
06. Pantomyme : part 1. The End
07. Pantomyme : part 2. War & Peace
08. Art Of Survival
09. Sweet Dreams

- Ian Weatherburn / vocals
- Stu 'Blue' McDade / drums, 12 string guitar & vocals
- Derek Miller / keyboards & programming

Additional musicians :
- Keith Satchfield / guitars
- Paul Baker / guitars
- Neil Rigg / guitars
- Alan Roadhouse / flutes
- Mickey Roper / harmonica
- Les Booth & Drumdin / additional percussion
- Artur Chachlowski / radio samples

Cirkus - 1994 - Cirkus II: The Global Cut

Cirkus II: The Global Cut

01. Locate 0 (Signifying A Passage Of Time) (1:20)
02. Still Standing (5:29)
03. Crime Of Pasiion (4:11)
04. Do You Really Believe In Yourself? (5:16)
05. We Atre Human (4:10)
06. White Room (2:07)
07. No Truth In Rumour (8:26)
08. While I Sleep (3:48)
09. Mutual Understanding (3:33)
10. Global Cut (5:47)

- Paul Baker / guitars
- Ian Weatherburg / vocals, keyboards
- Derek Miller / keyboards, programming

Cirkus - 1973 - One Plus...

One Plus

01. You Are (3:20)
02. Seasons (3:37)
03. April '73 (5:04)
04. Song For Tavish (4:35)
05. A Prayer (5:37)
06. Brotherly Love (3:49)
07. Those Were The Days (3:54)
08. Jenny (4:09)
09. Title Track
 a. Breach (4:19)
 b. Ad Infinitum (3:12)

Bonus Tracks from the remastered Audio Archives CD:
10. Castles (2:51)
11. The Heaviest Stone (4:56)
12. Amsterdam (4:03)
13. Melissa (3:22)
14. Pickupaphone (3:26)

Tracks 1-9 recorded in 1973. Tracks 10 & 11 recorded in 1971. Tracks 12-14 recorded in 1976.

- Paul Robson / lead vocals
- John Taylor / bass
- Derek G. Miller / organ, piano, mellotron
- Stu McDade / drums, percussion, backing vocals
- Dogg / electric and acoustic guitars
- Alan Roadhouse (replaces Paul Robson on tracks 12 & 14) / lead vocals, saxophone

Formed from the ashes of bands Moonhead and Lucas Tyson, the group's high standard of musicianship was well known in their native north-east where they attracted much attention and had a devoted following. It was felt that the quintet could achieve success on a national scale, provided management handled matters properly and they got the right breaks. In 1973 they recorded their debut album "Cirkus One" at Sound Associates/Emison & Air Studios and just 1000 copies were pressed up. It is widely regarded by many collectors today as the most musically accomplished private pressing of its kind to emerge out of the UK's then burgeoning progressive music scene, influenced by KING CRIMSON and YES. When in 1975 lead vocalist Paul Robson left the group, his replacement was Alan Roadhouse (ex Halfbreed) who also played the saxophone. With Dogg on acoustic and electric guitars, Derek Miller on keyboards, John Taylor on bass and main songwriter Stu McDade providing backing vocals, drums and assorted persussions, this became the new line-up. As a result the band moved away from their early symphonic style adopting a somewhat more mainstream approach albeit maintaining a certain "Cirkus sound".

In 1977 CIRKUS made an unusual move by touring in a somewhat zany theatre production called "Future Shock". Based on the musical, an LP of the same name was released, although none of the band members wrote any of the material. The LP was issued by Shock Records and is now very rare. The music is of a whimsical and offbeat nature, a far cry from the outfit's prog-rock roots and therefore of limited appeal. A year later a CIRKUS track called "I'm On Fire" was featured on a "Battle Of The Bands" LP but this proved to be their final offering before the five went their separate ways in the early '80s.

In 1994 was released "Cirkus II The Global Cut", where only Derek Miller features from the original line-up. In 1998 the much anticipated and quite magnificent third CIRKUS album "Pantomyne" was finally unveiled. This splendid offering brought original members, and main songwriter, Stu McDade back into the fold and featured cameo performances by an array of other musicians most notably former frontman Alan Roadhouse, who played flute. Anyway "Cirkus One" remains an exquisite album of outstanding creativity much deserving its high standing in the kingdom of progressive rock.

 Indeed this might just be one of the most impressive private release albums ever in terms of production. The quintet (a the standard prog quartet plus Robson as the singer) develops a light rock with some light prog twist and heavy ever-present orchestrations that sort of enhance the compositions (some good concise songwriting), but also renders the rock side of the album unbearably light. Graced with a spacey artwork, the gatefold album actually leads you a bit in error, because of the nine short tracks (all loaded with a heavy- handed orchestra, present on ALL tracks), in majority written by their drummer, are never really far away from possible wide radio- airplay, precisely because of the lush sounding strings.

Most of the tunes are extremely catchy, especially the opening You Are and Those Were the days, as well as the more serious Seasons (penned by keyboardist Miller) and Brotherly Love; but this is nevertheless a prog album as there are clear influences from Yes, Crimson (but not the sombre side of the group) and some other UK proto-prog ala Cressida or Spring. However, there are some sugar-bombs that provoke cavities in the proghead's dentition, such as the overly sweet Jenny and the catchier Song For Tavish (sounding lifted from Bowie). Of the album, clearly the highlight is the two-part 7-min+ Title Track (yes that's its name), where the group shows short signs of upping the ante, but it is quickly calmed down, but picks up again a bit later. Clearly McDade's drums are having a ball on most of the album, but particularly on this track.

While it is hard to call such an album essential, I feel like giving it fourth star, partly because of the extremely positive moods (not always the case with the lyrics, but the music is certainly so) of the album, but also partly because some of my colleague reviewers should maybe get another ear on this little baby.